Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Server is Down - Rediscovering WoW

Yesterday, in the midst of the summer slowdown, the 4-year itch, raid burnout, and daily quest fatigue ad infinitum, we looked at WoW with fresh wonder and joy once again.

And all it took was the End of the World (of warcraft).

In the "real world" something went very, very wrong at Blizzard's server farms. Perhaps they were trying a new system of powering the servers with Mountain Dew Game Fuel instead of the hamster wheel they had been using. Regardless, the upshot was that the virtual world of Azeroth ceased to be for nearly an entire day yesterday. At least for the most part.

Small fragments of the universe still existed, in the form of parallel versions of the world. With the vast majority of the servers down, my guild's main tank found solace by rolling a level 1 gnome warrior on one of the few remaining servers. He posted his location and new name on the guild forums, and as we all returned from school and work, one by one we joined his merry band of under-equipped, height-challenged adventurers through the snows of Dun Morough, both in-game and in-Vent.

It started as a simple goof, but quickly escalated into a bigger and grander goof. Our enthusiasm reflected off of each other and amplified. Soon, our dwarf hunter was pulling everything in sight so his four "pets" could more easily kill them. We were all working together to help our warlock learn to summon a simple imp, and facing down level 10 rare spawns with delirious determination. We were trading our meager findings - tattered rags, bits of leather and chain mail, old, rusted hammers - to try to put together some rudimentary kits to protect us from the elements and the vicious Winnebagos. I mean, Wendigos.

A white (much better than grey!) cape dropped from a treasure chest, sporting an as-yet-unheard-of armor value of 8! What a sense of adventure there was, exploring a new cave and discovering a treasure hidden deep within! The warrior asked if anyone wanted it, and our hunter ruined the moment by asking us to hold on while he "checked his spreadsheet to see if it's an upgrade".

We formed a guild called My Server Is Down(not very original, I know, not my idea), and wiled away the evening cracking jokes and killing ice trolls and gathering bear spleens. I refused to equip a mail chestpiece, exclaiming that "Paladins don't deserve to wear pants!" while keeping on my grey tattered cloth robe. I learned Hammer of Justice, challenged my guildies to duels, and then danced in front of them while they were stunned saying "ha ha I just stunned you from ranged and I wear plate" and then when it wore off, I would bubble and start dancing again.

I had forgotten how much more you appreciate a beautiful vista and an artfully-positioned reveal of a new area when you have to hike to it rather than flying past it at 280 miles per hour. I had forgotten how fun it was to wear whatever you found in a pig's belly, and just shoot the shit with your friends while you quested together and goofed off. No epics or strats or hard modes or calendar invites to AH or enchants to worry about. It made the game fresh for me, and reminded me why we started playing in the first place.

When our server came back up, we all promised to come back here between raids, to our tranquil little pool of fun. But I know from experience it's unlikely. Those epics and raids and dailies attracted us in the first place for a reason. But I hope we don't let go of the sense of wonder, joy and (OK cheesiness overload here) friendship that we got from it.

Maybe temporary armageddons aren't so bad after all.


Eaten by a Grue said...

Or you could have put down the empty crackpipe and checked out what daylight looks like.

Eaten by a Grue said...

I will add that I was kidding.

Hatch said...

LOL yeah, that was an option too. :)

Tesh said...

I love the Hunter with four pets notion. Great article!

...of course, I'm biased, since the newbie zones are pretty much all I ever see, and the Gnome/Dwarf starting zone is my favorite of the bunch. :)

Ixobelle said...

the starter areas, or rerolling is actually a blast, PROVIDED YOU HAVE SOMEONE TO DO IT WITH.

the biggest PITA of rerolling is knowing you'll be trying to get to the end cap, ***alone***, ASAP.

I wish I had someone to level my 40 rogue with, but just can't be assed to stealth around alone.

Tesh said...

Ixo, am I the only one who thinks it's a little odd to go about doing stealthy stuff with someone else? ;)